Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Had I seen this picture back in 1987, I might not have learned the hard way that knowing a little bit of a language can be a dangerous thing. It was that summer when my husband (still just my boyfriend) and I took what turned out to be a glorious vacation, cycling in the Loire Valley. I was conjuring up my high school French, even then a distant memory, and he was relying on me to do the talking. And actually, I wasn't doing half bad. We figured out how to get our bikes from Orly to Paris and then on to Angers by train, found acceptable hotel rooms in one town after another, and enjoyed the chateaus and sunflowers along the route.
One night in Orléans, tired after a day of riding, I spotted "cervelle d'agneau" on the menu.
"Great!" I thought. "Agneau is lamb and I love lamb!"
But when my meal arrived, it wasn't a lamb chop. It wasn't even a slice of mutton. It was unmistakably a lamb's brain, albeit swimming in butter. So I did what any hungry cyclist would do. I ate it. And I've never forgotten the word "cervelle." (And I've never ordered it again either.)